Navajo Nation members eligible for $1,500 for virus relief

(Leah Hogsten | The Salt Lake Tribune) Navajo Mountain Health Clinic Manager Revina Talker tends to a 74-year-old Diné patient as medical assistant Toni Black gets an iv flowing, Aug., 25, 2020. “I think we’re going to have to get ready for the next round,” said Talker of her staff’s autumn response to the coronavirus and the impending flu season. On Sept. 9, the Navajo Nation reported no new coronavirus cases, a first since March 13.

Window Rock, Ariz. • Enrolled members of the Navajo Nation will be eligible for payments of up to $1,500 as part of the tribe’s response to the coronavirus.

President Jonathan Nez and Vice President Myron Lizer on Friday approved the $49 million plan adopted by the tribal council. The funding comes from the tribe’s $714 million share of federal coronavirus relief funding.

Adults will be eligible for payments of $1,500 while those younger than 18 on March 1 are eligible for $500. Nez said in a statement that there isn’t enough funding to cover payments for all of the more than 320,000 enrolled members of the tribe, so the money should be directed to elders and those most in need.

Nez and Lizer also approved $90 million for tribal chapters, and Nez said there may be a chance to pump more money into the relief payments if the chapters don’t spend all of that money by the end of the year.

The controller’s office will develop an application process to distribute funds.

The Navajo Department of Health on Friday reported 42 new coronavirus cases and one more death. The death toll now stands at 564 since the pandemic began.